Elenna LaPlante

Supervisor: Rhonda Rosychuk

Project: How do sex and First Nations identity affect care?

“Conducting this research this summer has allowed me to develop skills in research and activism, specifically in health equity and data sovereignty.”

Emergency departments (EDs) play an important role in providing care to those who have limited access to other health services. However, the patient experiences in EDs differ between First Nations and non-First Nations people; First Nations members are also more likely to leave before being seen by a physician. In addition to differences based on race, sex-based differences exist. First Nations females use the emergency care system more than their male counterparts and non-First Nations females and males. Further research is needed on how sex and First Nations identity affect ED care.   

This research project is a part of a larger First Nations ED Quality of Care Project developed in partnership with principal investigator Patrick McLane, the Alberta First Nations Information Governance Centre and others. The data for the project has been collected through a five-year study that linked information regarding the status of First Nations people to information related to their emergency stay. I will examine the statistical differences in ED visit characteristics and quality of care received at Alberta EDs for First Nations females compared to First Nations males and non-First Nations females. ED visit characteristics and quality of care indicators include but are not limited to patient age, time of presentation to the ED, whether the patient left the ED without being seen, and diagnosis.   

The information gathered in the project will describe inequities in the care for First Nations females, and provide evidence for systemic change to specifically address racialized and gendered issues in pursuit of a more equitable healthcare system. While we know not all women are biological females and vice versa, we will interpret the characteristics of female sex patients' ED care as largely reflective of women's ED care. As matriarchs and protectors, improving the health of Indigenous women also improves the health of families and communities.

Elenna LaPlante was supervised by Rhonda Rosychuk and her summer studentship was funded by the Alberta Women’s Health Foundation. She is enrolled in the Doctor of Medicine program.